What is the Small Grants System?
The Small Grants System includes Polish diplomatic missions that conduct development projects by themselves or in cooperation with local partners. Aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, these projects enhance the lives of socially disadvantaged groups and provide them with better prospects for the future. The assistance is predominantly addressed to women and children, especially in terms of poverty eradication, educational opportunities and health care improvement.
Projects include not only small-scale infrastructure investments (i.e. so-called hard projects, such as renovation of facilities, construction of wells, purchase of equipment), but also trainings for local communities (i.e. soft projects).
Despite relatively small budgets, these cost-effective initiatives have a substantial impact on beneficiaries as the assistance reaches them directly. Prepared and initiated at a local level, projects take into account the real needs of the most vulnerable groups as well as the social and cultural reality of a given community. Project management does not generate additional costs as it is part of the diplomatic mission’s responsibilities. That is why the entire amount devoted to a particular project directly reaches its beneficiaries.
Who can conduct a project and who can be its beneficiary?
Development projects are carried out by Polish diplomatic missions or by their local partners, such as local NGOs, public institutions, local authorities or Catholic missions, which, apart from their religious activity, implement projects improving the living standards of the local people.
Diplomatic missions are responsible for the organizational, financial and reporting sides of the project. Nevertheless, the project initiative always comes from local partners and beneficiaries who take charge of the proper distribution of resources and the maintenance of project’s results after the Polish aid financing has finished. Project initiators present their ideas to the relevant diplomatic mission which chooses the most valuable initiatives. Then, under the form of a project application, it is presented to the MFA headquarters in Warsaw for final approval.
Project beneficiaries are predominantly representatives of socially disadvantaged groups, especially women and children. Depending on the needs and regional characteristics, the choice of beneficiaries always respects the principle of equal treatment, in particular in relation to sex, religion or ethnicity.
Where are projects conducted?
Projects can be conducted in every developing country on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients.
In recent years, the majority of projects financed from Poland’s development cooperation funds have been conducted in Eastern Partnership countries and Sub-Saharan Africa. Small grants have also been implemented in Asia, North Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Western Balkans.
When and how to apply?
Calls for project proposals are announced on the basis of an annual development cooperation plan which specifies thematic project field. The Polish diplomatic mission are invited to submit projects applications in the last quarter of the year preceding project implementation.
Partners from developing countries interested in cooperation with a particular diplomatic mission can apply throughout the year to the territorially competent embassies. This allows cooperation to be initiated at an early stage and the drafting of an application compliant with MFA and diplomatic mission requirements.
How to obtain more information?
To obtain more information about possibilities of conducting a project in a particular region, please contact the territorially competent Polish diplomatic mission.
In case of a lack of sufficient information, in particular concerning the project implementation guidelines, contact us by email: email@example.com.